27 February 2008

Calling all musicians:

Here is my goal. Form a jazz/funk ensemble, name not as yet selected, develop a repertoire of songs, and then campaign to get the gig of playing at Jazzoo in 2009.


The most important piece here is that we would be able to write a song entitled "(If Loving You is Binturong) I Don't Want to Be Binturight".

26 February 2008

Disclaimer: The following are just thoughts that came to me, and upon rereading it may sound like a harsher tone than I intended. Please don't think that I am setting out to attack people over doctrine as the essence of my thesis is, rather comically, "I don't know (and don't really need to)". Any thoughts or discussion is quite welcome!

Thoughts on Sovereignty and All That Stuff

You know that careworn old cliché of a question, "why do bad things happen to good people?" Well, it's been on my mind. Not so much concern about the answer to the question, but curiosity or interest about why people ask the question and how they answer it for themselves.

Sometimes I get the impression that people need to feel meaning; if they cannot divine it, they invent it. I'm not saying the attitude is widespread, necessarily, but it has been one I've observed occasionally over the years. Here is the basic formula:

Good Thing → Good Person = God blessing his children
Bad Thing → Bad Person = God punishing the wicked
Bad Thing → Good Person = Satanic attack
Good Thing → Bad Person = ??? "pleasure of sin for a season"?

The one that strikes me the most right now is the aforementioned bad things to good people. The imputation that anything bad that happens is the work of the Devil, well, that is common enough. Sound problems such as wireless microphone issues or feedback during church services have been laid at the Devil's feet (poor sound guy, I guess that makes him the tool of Satan!). Seemingly senseless tragedy occurs, and instead of a sovereign and all-powerful God being the source, it is seen as a Satanic attack. Perhaps this is done because some people can't bear to blame God, and they must blame someone. But remembering back to Job, Lucifer had to get permission from God to even give him sores on his body. I think the imputation of Satanic attack is a crutch when used in such a way, a way to avoid dealing with bitterness to God.

I'm not saying Satan doesn't work against the church and its people. However, it would strike me that his tactics would be much more like those of the fictional Screwtape and Wormwood, in Lewis's writing, where events were not enacted by satanic forces, but utilized by them, with cautious whispering in the ear and planting of thoughts. They are the political spinmeisters of the spiritual world, powerless as spiritual beings to actually rule the world as God does, but powerful in the way they can distort truth, change minds, and pervert thoughts to achieve their aims. This is how Satan can use tragedy, not by inflicting it on people, as he lacks the power himself (in the Garden he couldn't stuff the forbidden fruit down Eve's throat, all he could do, and all he needed to do, was reason deceitfully with her), but by taking a horrible event that cannot otherwise be explained, and saying, "is God good?" The reaction of simply saying "the Devil did it!" when such inexplicably horrible things happen seems an equivalent of sticking our fingers in our ears and saying "LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA". It ignores the question "is God good?" by tying His hands, saying God could not have done such a terrible thing and was powerless to prevent it, ultimately undermining the absolute sovereignty of God.

Speaking of clichés, it seems to remind me of Tennyson's classic:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Job was never given an answer as to the "why" of his sufferings, either. God personally came down, and simply revealed His greatness; He didn't even make an attempt to explain to Job why he was so afflicted in his life. We should accept that we can never understand everything. In some cases it may appear to us that God's love cannot be so infinite towards us when such horrible things happen to us without rhyme or reason, but remember how microscopically small we are compared to the Creator, and just like I can't convince my cat that her insulin shot is done out of love (it ought to be, it's bloody expensive), perhaps we are completely incapable of understanding such things.

Basically, all this to say, it doesn't have to make sense. Don't try to fit human sense into God's mind.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

20 February 2008

Well to quote Mr. Fry, after filtering it for family readership, "flam, double flam, and an extra pint of flam for the weekend!" Well, perhaps that is putting it a bit harshly, but I am admittedly a smidge disappointed and feel I will certainly be disappointing the surging, reeling masses of my hysterically adoring fans when I confess that no, I did not get the chance to thank Mikhail Kalashnikov for his contribution to the shooting sports on live television. My brief interview on the Dave Ramsey Show on Fox Business Network went smoothly, I thought, aside from a ludicrous and unnecessary sense of nervousness. They move quick on TV, too fast for me to enact a graceful transition to the Everett character. Oh well, no matter, I talked to the Dave, and he shined his glorious debt-free countenance upon me. I wonder if I glow like Moses did coming down the mountain.

Comical yet inexcusable blasphemy aside, I'm looking forward to seeing the show, not to mention finding out who the People's Choice Award goes to. Allegedly it airs tonight at 7PM CST on Fox Business, but beats me if that really is the case.

19 February 2008

There's this tract about the rapture of the saints in our house, and it has the most horrendous cover artwork I've ever seen. So much so, I decided I needed to blog about it here. Here is the cover in question, along with a shot of the back cover as well:

There's something about the guy on the front page that makes me think he's going to do the Little Lad Dance from this deranged Starburst commercial.

13 February 2008

An Invitation to the Wodehouse Neophyte:

I have just discovered that one can download for free (or read online) a number of "Plum" Wodehouse's works, and one of the fruitiest (to borrow a phrase long since changed in meaning from that Wooster fellow) of said works is available for perusal. "Right Ho, Jeeves" is particularly memorable for the Market Snodsbury Grammar School prize-giving, as presided over by a completely besotted Fink-Nottle. Classic stuff.

To download, use this link:
Project Gutenberg

Or for general online reading:
Page by Page Books
Two thoughts:

One wonders, if no one had ever been able to crack the atom, and we had had a similarly hostile relationship with the U.S.S.R. after WWII, how would the Cold War have gone "hot"? Without mutually assured destruction it would have been much more likely to devolve into a direct "shooting war". Europe would have been the main front obviously (Fulda Gap and all that), but where else would we have engaged the Soviets? An interesting thought for the amateur military historian.

And secondly, a horrific realization has beset me. I was somewhat giddy seeing the deflation of the Clinton machine, seeing it as deliverance from another chapter in the Bush-Clinton dynastic succession. Then I started to consider the unlikely but still possible prospect of a Veep selection by Obama.

Hillary as VP for 8 years potentially? Then as President for 8 years possibly? Consider this scenario:

Bush I, Veep: 80-88
Bush I, Pres: 89-92
Clinton I, Pres: 93-00
Bush II, Pres: 01-08
Clinton II, Veep: 09-16
Clinton II, Pres: 17-24

We've already had 28 straight years of having either a Bush or Clinton as President or Vice-President. I haven't even taken in a breath of air in an America without someone from these two families in either of the two executive positions. Under the above scenario, it would be 44 years of Clintbush. Not including the possibility of another contender being introduced from either family. The House of York only lasted 24 years!

12 February 2008

Good Lord! I mean to say....Good Lord!!!

The Wodehouse Bible
I'm generally what you might consider to be a Microsoft-friendly sort of person. I don't have the same zealous animosity held by the Linux snobs, nor the undying, wrathful grudge held by the Mac-abees. I honestly like most of the MS stuff.

But I am royally tee'd off about Microsoft Knowledge Base article KB236621.

All I really want to do is keep Terminal Server users from clogging the system drive, by dumping huge email attachments into their Outlook Personal Folders. I thought a keen way to do it on our soon-to-be dedicated Terminal Server would be to move the Docs/Settings folder over to another drive, and let them save huge things to the Desktop to their heart's content.

This is a really, really rotten KB article. I cycled through the Registry making the prescribed changes, realizing halfway through what a dope I was for not exporting a copy, and there must have been well over a hundred entries. Changed every one of them. Then rebooted. Tried adding something to my Desktop, and it shows up under the System drive folder still.

So no apparent effect, but everything was changed to the E: drive in the Registry, so if I admit defeat, and wipe out the newly copied folders over on the E: drive, I have no idea what that will break. Honestly I really don't want to go back through the Registry and reverse every single modification I did...it may have been close to a thousand, it sure felt like it...but that may be my only option.

So, if you'll pardon my acronyms, right now I'd just like to say that Microsoft is a bunch of *DHCP* *RRAS*ing sons of *NAT*, *IIS*ing purveyors of *RDP*ed *HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE*, and they can jolly well *.NET* themselves with a stiff wire *CAPICOM*.

There, I feel better.

06 February 2008

Fry 'et' Laurie once more:

Pass the Marmalade

Funny enough sketch that I feel the need to post the script (be forewarned, some language verges on the naughty):


(Stephen and Hugh are sitting at either end of a long table, having breakfast. Hugh is a woman, Stephen isn't.)

H: Could you pass the marmalade, darling?

S: What?

H: The marmalade, could you pass it?

S: You want me to arse the parlourmaid?

H: No darling, there's a pot of marmalade at your elbow, I want you to pass it.

S: A potty marinade in my dildo, have you gone mad?

H: Darling I want you to pass the marmalade.

S: (Amazed) You want me to fart the hit parade?

H: Pass the marmalade.

S: Smile at Roy Hattersley? You want me to smile at Roy Hattersley?

H: That doesn't sound anything like "pass the marmalade".

S: Roy Hattersley hasn't found anyone to pass the marmalade? You're babbling, woman.

H: No dear. I want YOU to pass the marmalade.

S: Roy Hattersley wants me to pass the marmalade?

H: No, I do darling.

S: An eiderdown? I'm not going to pass Roy Hattersley an eiderdown.

H: If you'll just listen!

S: He can get his own damned eiderdown like everyone else.

H: The marmalade dear, can you pass it?

S: Expecting people to pass him eiderdown as if he was someone special. No one's ever passed me an eiderdown.

H: Will you pass the marmalade?

S: No I will NOT go to bed with Les Dennis. Not at any price. I think you must be off your head.

(Hugh gets up, walks down the table and picks up the marmalade. Stephen buries his head in the paper.)

S: The Substantial Tide's Indebt smell by more quoits?

H: No dear, the Financial Times Index fell by four points.

S: Oh. Pass the marmalade will you?

03 February 2008

Would it be much of a surprise to any loyal reader to see another batch of zoo photographs? No, not really.

I'm reasonably certain these are alpacas, not llamas.

A duck couple traipsing across the ice.

The previously photographed pair of donkeys:

I took about eight or so photographs of this non-domestic duck, in an effort to capture what craziness he was performing (note the domestic mallards in the background looking on with amusement). This was the clearest photo...he kept diving headfirst, kicking his legs up and making no small amount of racket. Very amusing!

A closeup of another previous subject, the crane with the broken beak.

The red panda was also very interesting to observe. After we walked up we saw him trot up near the fence, carrying something in his mouth, and he proceeded to climb the "tree", and there sat eating what appeared to be a biscuit of some sort.

Later he became very cat-like and started cleaning himself:

This exhibit had me comically nervous...the lazier of the two tigers was ominously crawling out of his usual log abode, and stretched out to a rather frightening height. He was very alert, and eyeing us suspiciously.

And after we saw him, the clincher was looking to our right and seeing his friend perched up on a tree, making eye contact with us, and looking ready to pounce. The photograph was blurry, for which I apologise, but one can understand the haste with which I took the images.

A zookeeper was tending the binturong, and had to bribe it to come outside with offers of food. Once outside it seemed to enjoy it somewhat, stretching out and walking about.

The kangaroos were again very close to the deck observation area, although they were more actively feeding this time.

A young kangaroo:

The gulls were more amusing than I can probably relate; in a previous post I had hinted of a henpecked (har!) husband sort of relationship between two of the gulls, and this one seemed to confirm it. The one off by himself up top is the husband, who remained quietly aloof and separate from the other two. The one in the middle kept up a racket of what could only be describes as aviary complaining...assumedly the abusive wife grousing (har!) about her no-good deadbeat gull of a husband. The one at bottom was the most amusing, with a deeper, more guttural honk of a call, who kept agreeing with the wife and making an awful row. I assume that was the mother-in-law.

I really ought to find out what sort of bird this is:

Here he is again, right before he raises his bill to attack the infidel human.

01 February 2008

So my attention has been returned to the subject of a previous blog post:

Aforementioned Previous Blog Post

The "Huntin' Plastic" video in that blog post apparently fell into the hands of the Dave Ramsey Show, and I got an email from a Fox Business Network producer asking if "Everett" was interested in being a guest on the show. Debra and I have been laughing ever since. How funny! And apparently, I've been invited to be a part of an "awards show" later this month (I'm unsure as yet if it's the radio or cable TV show) because I was awarded the coveted "Best Plasectomy by Firearm" award.

Let me repeat that, for those of you who did not quite grasp the gravity and momentous awesomeness of it all. I have won the "Best Plasectomy by Firearm" award. Time for me to sit back and bask in the glow of that glorious achievement! Do I get a funny little golden statue?

If I get an awards speech, I am totally thanking Mikhail Kalashnikov.